By Gayane Muradyan

Special to the Mirror-Spectator

At the current stage of its Artsakh Refugees Aid Program, the Tekeyan Cultural Association of the United States and Canada has decided to help the families of economically disadvantaged Artsakh Armenian children who need medical treatment. The stories of the families presented below are only a few samples of what tribulations the forcibly displaced Artsakh Armenians are facing.

Nora, one of the displaced, said that her son, Edwin, was only 3 days old on the day the 44-day war began in 2020. They were in a shelter and the child got inflammation of the ear cartilage from the effects of repeated shell explosions. Liquid collected in his head and swelling took place. Edwin was operated on in Stepanakert at the age of 1.5 years, but during the months of the siege, his medication was stopped. Now the boy is 3 years old and will continue his treatment in Yerevan.

Lyuba’s husband, Armon, was killed at the defense positions during the September 2023 Azerbaijani invasion. Four boys are now growing up in the family, ages 7 to 26. Seven-year-old Artyom was diagnosed with sarcoma and is being treated at the Yolian Yerevan Hematology Hospital named after Yolian. The family lived in Gishi village of Martunu region in Artsakh. Now they live in Aintap village of Ararat Province. “We left everything in Artsakh, from the graves of relatives to happy carefree times. I left in Artsakh what I will not find anywhere. I left my homeland, but the dream of returning to Artsakh remained with us,” Lyuba exclaimed.

Victoria lived with her husband Sevak in the city of Martuni, Artsakh, until September 19. Four minor children, aged 6-15, were growing up in their family. On September 19, Sevak was killed while defending the positions of the city. Now Victoria and the children live in the city of Echmiadzin of Armavir Province. The boys have a hard time overcoming the longing for their home, yard, and friends in Artsakh. They have psychological problems adapting to a new place. “They feel orphaned without Artsakh,” Victoria explained. “Artsakh also remained an orphan without its people.”

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Karine’s family of seven, five of whom are minor children, lived in Stepanakert, Artsakh’s capital. Now they have settled in Lori Province. “Unexpected shots were heard in the morning. We thought they were training exercises, but then the sounds of the shots became clearer and closer. People were running on the street. We decided to go out, leaving home, car, everything. We only managed to get the children out,” Karine related. The son, 14-year-old Armen, has kidney cancer. During the blockade, he could not take the necessary medication. Now he is registered at the children’s clinic and is receiving a course of treatment.

Ruzanna Harutyunyan’s large family of 11 people needed fuel to escape. Only seven liters of gasoline were needed to get the family to Goris. Her husband, Davit, was waiting in line to get fuel from the gas station outside Stepanakert. Davit was standing nearby during its explosion and received burns of various degrees. He is still undergoing post-operative therapy at the burn hospital, and Ruzanna’s five-year-old daughter, Adriana, has a chronic blood disorder and is being treated at the hospital.

There are 4 minor children aged 3 to 16 in the 6-person family of Baghdasar and Irina Sevumyan. They lived carefree in Shekher village of Artsakh’s Martunu region. The youngest boy, Baghdasar, was found to have a cyst when he was three years old. He was operated on once, but the doctors advise that another operation is necessary. Now they live in Yeghegnadzor, in Vayots Dzor Province.

The 10-member family of Arthur and Zhanna Baghdasaryan lived in the village of Chan in the Martakert region of Artsakh, including 16-year-old Mariam, 14-year-old Davit, 12-year-old Alexey, 10-year-old Raya, 7-year-old Marina, 6-year-old Henry, 3-year-old Rudik and 2-year-old Monte. Now the family lives in Malishka village of Vayots Dzor Province. “If we are not in Artsakh, it doesn’t matter where we will be. Artsakh was a paradise,” they say.

As can be seen from these examples, most Artsakh families are large ones with many children. Having multiple children was always encouraged there as part of the goal of the Artsakh government to preserve the unique language or dialects of Karabakh, and its cultural and even genetic inheritance.

The Tekeyan Cultural Association is grateful for all those who have supported its program of direct aid to the Artsakh displaced. All donations go without any administrative fees to help the Artsakh Armenians, and each case is investigated closely. Earlier stages of the aid program, to burn victims and their families, and other needy families, are described in prior articles in the Armenian Mirror-Spectator.

If you want to help, please send donations in the USA to the following address: Tekeyan Cultural Association Artsakh Aid, 755 Mount Auburn Street, Watertown, MA 02472, or online at; and in Canada, to Tekeyan Cultural Association Artsakh Aid, 825 Manougian Str., Ville Saint-Laurent, Quebec H4N 1Z5, Canada or online here.

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